amalgamation | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

Amalgamation refers to the process or result of uniting or consolidating things.

In the context of American policing, amalgamation can refer to the consolidation of police departments or the integration of police forces with other law enforcement agencies. In some cases, amalgamation has been used to improve efficiency and reduce costs in law enforcement.

One example of amalgamation in policing is the consolidation of multiple smaller police departments into one larger agency. This can help to reduce duplication of effort and improve coordination among law enforcement agencies, as well as provide greater resources and specialization to combat crime. For example, in 2012, the police departments of the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County in Wisconsin merged to form the Milwaukee Metropolitan Police Department. The amalgamation was intended to improve communication and cooperation between the city and county police departments and to provide better service to residents.

Another form of amalgamation in policing involves the integration of police forces with other law enforcement agencies, such as sheriff’s departments or state police agencies. This can improve coordination and communication among law enforcement agencies and provide a more unified response to crime. An example of this type of amalgamation is the creation of the New York State Police in 1917, which consolidated the state’s police resources and standardized law enforcement practices across the state.

However, amalgamation in policing can also be controversial, particularly when it involves the merger of smaller police departments with larger ones. In some cases, local residents and police officers may be concerned about losing their sense of community and identity with their smaller department, as well as the possibility of job losses and changes to policing practices. Additionally, amalgamation may not always result in improved efficiency or better service, and may instead lead to bureaucratic and administrative issues.

Overall, amalgamation in American policing can take various forms and can have both benefits and drawbacks. It is up to law enforcement agencies and policymakers to carefully consider the potential outcomes and impacts before pursuing any type of amalgamation.

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Last Modified: 04/10/2023


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